by Brad Best
Picnic racing returned to Balnarring on Saturday for the traditional Stakes Day meeting at Emu Plains Reserve. Amid the customary colour of bucks’ and hens’ parties, families dominated the front lawn, embracing the lively atmosphere of the picnic races in magnificent numbers. All afternoon, the playground was abuzz, surpassing the bookmakers’ ring in both excitement and noise. And while the kids ran rampant under the shade of the eucalyptus trees, a veteran jockey was doing just the same around the sweeping bends of the Balnarring racetrack.
Not for the first time, picnic racing favourite Debbie Waymouth provided the story of the day, riding a rare treble from her book of four rides. Her incredible afternoon started in the second with $2.60 favourite Tearaway Tommy proving too strong over the mile. Sitting just off the pace, the four-year-old gelding pulled hard early before being let go in the straight, breezing past Peace Of Heaven to win by almost half-a-length from the fast-finishing Roze Of Envy. Waymouth rode her second winner in the fifth, producing a perfectly-timed ride on board six-year-old gelding Caffe Coupez to nab the brave Avon Country on the line. The win also brought up a training double for her daughter, Rebecca Waymouth. With the entire Balnarring crowd behind her, Debbie took the reins of favourite Sleep’n Pete in the last, guiding the six-year-old gelding to the front off a good early tempo before pulling away to win by two-and-a-half lengths.
In other races, the day got off to a flying start for young gun Ashlee Beer who rode seven-year-old gelding Rawlings to a comfortable win in the first, rallying along the inside rail for a two-and-a-half-length victory. In the third, five-year-old mare Tycoon Georgia – ridden by Michael Kent – justified her standing as favourite, easing up on the line to win by a length ahead of Southwest Bob, the picnic racing debutant coming from last on the turn to grab second. In race four, Courtney Pace continued her run of impressive early season form with a grinding victory on seven-year-old gelding Grey Giggle. Hitting the front early, Pace held on ahead of the fast-finishing Little Miss Izzy, bringing up her fourth win of the season to move to the top of the jockey premiership.
As a cool change swept across the track, the carnival rolled on, billowing into the car park well after the last. Once again, the Balnarring Picnic Race Club put on a brilliant day’s entertainment, maintaining their status as having the best overall racetrack on the picnic racing circuit.
With the Melbourne Cup Carnival drawn to a close, the picnic racing carnival is only warming up. We look forward to seeing you next Saturday at Yea!
Results for Balnarring. Visit the picture gallery for the days action at Balnarring.
by Brad Best
The spring racing carnival hit Mansfield on Tuesday for the traditional picnic race meeting on Melbourne Cup Day. Under sparkling skies, an enthusiastic crowd made the most of the perfect weather, setting up camp in the shadows of the winning post and filling marquees the entire length of the straight. With the incomparable Greg Evans back for another year of fashions on the field, there was no shortage of contestants vying for the title of Miss Mansfield; while on the track, the day was highlighted by dominant performances in each of the six races and a double to Reece Goodwin.
The day kicked off with local favourite Lardie Lass taking out the first for trainer Gerald Egan. Ridden by Reece Goodwin, the four-year-old mare broke her maiden status in impressive style, pulling away in the straight to win by three lengths. It was a similar story in the second with Michael Kent taking the reins of six-year-old gelding World Of Magic to score by four lengths.
In the third, a fast tempo played into the hands of Reece Goodwin who brought up his double on Up And Downs. Sitting just off the pace, Goodwin hit the front at the top of the straight before pulling away on the five-year-old mare for a two-and-a-quarter-length victory. Before the Cup, a classic Mansfield two-horse race kept the crowd entertained with young gun Ashlee Beer getting the better of Rob Kirkpatrick, hitting the line strongly on eight-year-old gelding Wearethestorm to record a three-length win in the fourth.
The biggest field of the day contested race five with punters putting their Melbourne Cup winnings to good use by reinvesting their profits on the most fierce betting race of the day. With a perfectly-timed run, in-form jockey Courtney Pace swooped home on topweight Hay Buddy, pulling away for a one-and-a-quarter-length win. In keeping with the theme of the day, seven-year-old Muss, ridden by Craig Kirkpatrick, won the last in customary dominant fashion, the imposing gelding making a mess of its rivals, winning by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Once again, Mansfield shone brightly on the first Tuesday in November, bringing together all the fun and atmosphere of the city races with the intimacy and warmth of the picnics. On Saturday, the Melbourne Cup Carnival wraps up with another huge meeting at Balnarring on Stakes Day. We look forward to seeing you there!
Results for Mansfield. Visit the picture gallery for the days action at Mansfield.
by Brad Best
On a typically unseasonal November afternoon, picnic racing returned to Healesville on Saturday for the traditional Derby Day meeting. Despite brief blasts of rain and hail, a great crowd remained dry throughout, finding plenty of shelter under marquees and a first-class bookmakers’ shed. Away from the track, gumboot-clad kids made the most out of ankle-deep puddles, while on the other side of the fence, racing action was highlighted by a pair of doubles and a rare training trifecta.
In the first, Gold ‘N’ Sparkle broke her maiden status by taking out the Welcome Back To Healesville Maiden Plate over 1650m. Ridden by Rob Kirkpatrick, the five-year-old mare made her opposition look second-rate, taking the inside running at the home turn before pulling away for a five-length win.
In the second, Phantom Flight and Tearaway Tommy set a cracking pace out in front, their head-to-head battle coming to a grinding halt at the top of the straight when classy eight-year-old gelding Guadalcanal – ridden by Matthew Corbisiero – glided effortlessly down the middle of the track to defeat the tiring Phantom Flight and stablemate Shanghai Rooster, the result bringing up a rare training trifecta for Reg & Alec Manning who had three of the five runners in the race.
After a quick burst of rain, Courtney Pace took the reins of Rose Of Envy in the third, guiding the eight-year-old mare to a hard-fought win over favourite Peace Of Heaven; while in the fourth, Reece Goodwin put in a similarly gutsy performance on board Lou Lou Star, holding off all-comers on the four-year-old mare to win by a short-head over Manderville.
The final two races of the day saw Courtney Pace and Matthew Corbisiero bring up well-deserved doubles. In the fifth, Pace took control of the race out in front, guiding three-year-old filly Rich Widow to her first win in start number six. Corbisiero brought up his double in the last, timing his run to perfection on board eight-year-old gelding Scoring, nabbing a tenacious Bel Shandy in the shadows of the post to win by a short-head.
Despite the early morning rain, the track was well-primed for the first meeting of the season, further enhancing Healesville’s reputation as having one of the best prepared racecourses on the picnic racing circuit. On Tuesday, picnic racing heads even further north, away from the hustle and bustle of Flemington to the peaceful hamlet of Mansfield where picnic racing is set to ignite under sunny skies for the Melbourne Cup Day holiday. We look forward to seeing you there!
Results for Healesville. Visit the picture gallery for the days action at Healesville.
by Brad Best
After a well-earned break over winter, picnic racing returned to the high country on Saturday with racegoers treated to brilliant sunshine for the first Cox Plate Day meeting held at Alexandra. With a solid crowd in attendance – looked after superbly by the Alexandra Picnic Race Club – the meeting is sure to become a much-anticipated annual event on the picnic racing calendar.
It was a great day for jockeys Grant Seccombe and Christopher Brown who both rode doubles. In the second, Grant Seccombe picked up the first of his two winners on board favourite Peace Of Heaven, taking the six-year-old mare to the lead at the top of the straight before holding on for a gutsy win against the fast-finishing Medal Day. He brought up his double in the fifth with an equally gutsy ride on board Avon Country, prevailing in a photo finish against the tenacious Derby Way and bringing up a double for prolific trainer John Kilgower.
Christopher Brown made it back-to-back wins in races three and four, teaming up with trainer Gordon Strang for another jockey/trainer double. In the third, Brown took control of the race at the final turn, guiding five-year-old gelding Dane’s Edge to the front before pulling away for a one-and-a-half-length win. His early attack on the jockey’s premiership was complete in the fourth with a hard-fought win on $1.50 favourite Minou.
The meeting was bookended by two strong performances in middle-distance events. In the first, Ashlee Beer guided Rocky’n’bullwinkle to a one-and-a-half-length win, pulling away in the straight to give the seven-year-old gelding its first ever victory at its 32nd start. While in the last, Craig Kirkpatrick was again back in familiar territory, saluting in the winner’s stall after an emphatic victory aboard six-year-old gelding Despict, clearing away at the top of the straight to record a two-and-three-quarter-length win.
As the spring racing carnival reaches its showpiece event – the Melbourne Cup – there is no better time to soak up the atmosphere of a day at the races. Next week, picnic racing returns to Healesville on Saturday for the Derby Day meeting, Mansfield on Tuesday for the Cup Day meeting and Balnarring on Saturday week for the Stakes Day meeting. Surely, when it comes to big races in November, there is no better place to be than at the picnics! We can’t wait to see you there.
Results for Alexandra. Visit the picture gallery for the days action at Alexandra.